PENSIONER Eunice Majola could not hide her excitement yesterday when she spoke to Sowetan about her new house.

"I am very happy that the government has finally heeded our calls for better houses," Majola said. "I do not understand why they built one-roomed houses in the first place.

"We are poor but we did not deserve such small houses with no proper foundation."

She said she was surprised when the contractor demolished her one-roomed house a fortnight ago.

"They stripped the corrugated iron roof and pulled the walls down. We have been staying in coffins for years and we are lucky that the small houses didn't kill anyone.

"I have been sleeping with my grandchildren and also cooking in this small house for years. But the newly built house has an open plan kitchen and lounge, a bathroom and two bedrooms."

Meanwhile, other residents who had already extended their houses told Sowetan they wanted compensation from the government. Bongeka Ngcobo, a mother of three, said she extended her one-roomed structure to a proper house.

"I did not get money from the government. And we are all poor but there is nothing said about us. I am hoping that the government will compensate us as well. But I'm happy for my neighbours. These new houses will change our lives for the better," Ngcobo said.

Nigel Gumede, chairperson of the municipal housing committee, said there was no need for the government to compensate people who were able to extend their houses.

"People must know that the government is helping those that could not afford to extend their houses" Gumede said.

"We have heard rumours that residents believe that they will receive vouchers but that is not true.

"We have asked the project manager to coordinate a mass meeting with the community where the process will be explained to them."